When the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy was launched to the public and media just a few weeks ago, top local jockey Derek Leung Ka-chun was the guest of honour, and he kept the role on raceday as he landed the biggest win of his career on Beauty Generation.
Leung is now keeping a dream alive on the five-year-old as trainer John Moore said Leung will retain the mount heading towards the Longines Hong Kong Mile in December.
Leading jockey Zac Purton has an arrangement to ride the Kwok family’s “Beauty” horses but won’t take over from Leung as the Australian already has a commitment to defending Hong Kong Mile champion Beauty Only.
“On a handicap basis, you knew those horses would be right there,” said Moore after lightly weighted Beauty Generation held off another lightly handicapped stablemate Booming Delight (Karis Teetan) to quinella the Group Two for the yard.
“Beauty Generation has been a model of consistency and he got the right gate and the right ride from Derek and the owner has already said to me ‘how can you take the jockey off after he’s done such a good job?’ It’s great to have a Chinese jockey aboard going toward these international races. Derek gets few opportunities in Group events but he’s done everything right.”
In contrast to his Group Three win in the Celebration Cup over 1,400m, when Beauty Generation was allowed to dictate the lead, Leung was forced to take a different tack yesterday.
“I could see Matthew Chadwick was going to keep running on Winner’s Way today so I went to Plan B and sat behind him,” he said. “Last time was a slow pace, and today it wasn’t really fast but it was more even, smooth, and it didn’t bother him.”
The heat will get turned up on the prominent lightweights from Sunday’s race when they take the next step towards the internationals with the Jockey Club Mile in three weeks.
Run under different set weights and allowances conditions, horses like Beauty Generation and Booming Delight will not have the handicap edge.
“We were going to run Beauty Generation in the Sa Sa Ladies Purse over 1,800m next but that’s out the window now – I’m training him for the Hong Kong Mile,” Moore said.
Back in the field, favourite Beauty Only (Purton) finished ninth but his jockey was dismissing the run.
“You just couldn’t make up ground today,” Purton said. “The track was against us, nothing in the race made ground and I was happy enough.”
Moore’s heavyweights, Werther and Helene Paragon also ran solid races behind the placings and will come into their own from now on.